Indian newspapers are full of the recent action taken by the Medical Council of India against doctors who have been accused of taking a bribe from a pharma company.
" Seven senior doctors from Maharashtra, including three physicians from Mumbai, are among the 300 doctors summoned by the Medical Council of India (MCI) on charges of accepting bribes from a pharmaceutical firm. From huge amounts of cash to cars, flats and exotic foreign tours, an anonymous complaint received by the MCI has accused these doctors to have taken several benefits for promoting an Ahmedabadbased pharma firm by prescribing its medicines. "
We need to clean up the medical corruption which has infected the Indian healthcare system, and this is a step in the right direction.
While the media has waxed eloquent about how medical professionals have debased themselves by taking bribes ( ranging from front page articles in the Times of India; a British Medical Journal campaign; stings on NDTV ; and Aamir Khan's diatribe against doctors on Satyamev Jayate ), I am amazed by the deafening silence in the media regarding the bribe giver.
Why is no one turning a spotlight on the company which paid out the bribes ? They are the ones who have been corrupting doctors on a large scale. Yes, it's illegal to take a bribe, but it's equally illegal to give it !
It's interesting that the original complaint was filed with the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers , who them forwarded it to the Ministry of Health , who they in turn asked the MCI to carry out investigations.
However, why did the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers not take action against the CEO of the pharma company which paid the bribes ?
This would have send out a very strong message to other pharma companies, and would have been a much more effective deterrent. Rather than picking on a few doctors, why not tackle the problem at its source ?
Or is it that pharma companies have such deep pockets and so much influence and clout that no one dares to do so ?